Family Law, Children & Property

Separation can be a difficult time for all involved.

The Boylan Lawyers team provide trusted, safe hands for our family law clients.


Paul Boylan

Paul Boylan

Senior Partner | Lawyer

Sebastian Hill

Sebastian Hill

Director | Partner

Roger Tinning

Roger Tinning

Senior Associate

Shelley Anderson

Shelley Anderson


Deborah Hewitt

Deborah Hewitt


Rianie Huggins

Rianie Huggins


I am going through a Separation, what can Boylan Lawyers help me with?

We commit to ensuring you feel supported, understood and respected. Our expertise will seamlessly guide you on the legal issues and our experience will help you find a clear path forward.

Everyone’s circumstances are different, so our services are tailored to your specific needs. We can support and guide you through any of the following issues:


  • Divorce
  • Living arrangements for children
  • Intervention orders
  • Property settlement
  • Financial settlement
  • Estate Planning

What is the first step of Separation?

Where possible, we strongly recommend Mediation as a first step. Supported discussion to reach agreement is empowering for you, can avoid escalating tensions, and is less expensive and time consuming than involving the Courts.

Mediation can be effective, even when communication between parties seems impossible. If you are concerned about domestic violence, or other reasons that may affect your ability to engage in mediation, we can talk about options to assist you.

When does Separation become official?

Separation happens when you and your husband/wife or partner stop living together as a couple.

You do not need an official document to say that you are separated. One or both of you may make the decision to separate and tell the other person of that decision. One of you may then decide to move out of the home.

Even though there is no official separation document, there are some agencies you may need to tell that you and your husband/wife, or partner, have separated. You may need to tell Centrelink, if you receive benefits already or if you need financial assistance. You may also need to contact the Child Support Agency; if you have children living with you, you may be entitled to financial payments (child support) from your husband/wife or partner.

Can we be separated and still live in the same home?

It is possible to be separated but still to live in the same house. This is called being separated “under the one roof”.

Being separated will mean that, for example, you no longer sleep in the same bed, no longer have sex together, you may cook and eat separately and no longer do household chores for each other.

Do I need a lawyer to Divorce?

You do not have to use a lawyer for the divorce proceedings, however if you are finding it difficult to complete the Application for Divorce by yourself, you may want to get some help from a lawyer and you may choose to have a lawyer represent you at the hearing.

The divorce itself is separate from all the other issues, which need to be sorted out when you separate from your husband/wife/partner. A divorce is the legal ending of your marriage and is usually the last thing to do when everything else is sorted out. You can make arrangements for the children (such as who they are going to live with, and when they are going to spend time with the other parent), and start to work out how you are going to divide up any property (and debts) as soon as you are separated. You do not need to wait to be divorced to sort out these important matters. You should obtain legal advice about making arrangements for the children and working out a property settlement with your husband after separation.

Can I keep my married name when Separated?

Yes. If you separate you can use your married or birth name (maiden name) without officially changing your name. For example, if you want to use your birth name you can do so by simply showing your birth certificate to your bank, Medicare, etc.

If you want to change your name officially (to a surname other than your birth name or married name), you will have to apply to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. A fee will be charged. You are not able to change your children’s surnames without the agreement of the other parent, or an order of the court.

Once Separated, do we have to Divorce?

No. You can choose to remain legally married, even though you have separated from your husband/wife/partner. You do not have to apply for a divorce, unless you want to re-marry. However, your husband/wife/partner may apply for a divorce even if you do not.

Can I Divorce if my ex is overseas?

You can still get divorced in Australia, as long as the court has jurisdiction in your case. The court has jurisdiction if the person applying for the divorce lives in Australia or is an Australian citizen. You will need a copy of your marriage certificate to include with your application for divorce.